Red & Black Publishing Company v. Board of Regents

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Red & Black Publishing Companyvs.Board of Regents
Number: 262 Ga. 848, 427 S.E.2.d 257
Year: 1993
State: Georgia
Court: Georgia Supreme Court
Other lawsuits in Georgia
Other lawsuits in 1993
Precedents include:
This case established that student courts within the University of Georgia are in fact subject to the Georgia Open Records Act and the Georgia Open Meetings Act in that they are acting on behalf of the University Board of Regents.
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Red & Black Publishing Company v. Board of Regents was a case before the Georgia Supreme Court in 1993 concerning the application of open meetings lawsuits to school boards.

Important precedents

This case established that student courts within the University of Georgia are in fact subject to the Georgia Open Records Act and the Georgia Open Meetings Act in that they are acting on behalf of the University Board of Regents.[1]

Background

  • The University of Georgia and the Board of Regents is considered a public body subject to the states open records and open meetings acts. The Board of Regents establishes all of the rules and policies for the University and delegates the enforcement of student rules to the Office of Judicial Programs. This office has established a number of courts, including the Organization Court. The courts are presided over by students and the administrative and secretarial duties are performed by University employees. Court sessions are held in University buildings.
  • The Organization court is responsible for hearing complaints against student organizations including fraternities and sororities. These hearings are closed to the public at the request of the organization.
  • The Red & Black, the student newspaper, sought access to records and hearings of the Organization Court.
  • When they were denied access, they filed suit.
  • The trial court delivered a split ruling and both sides appealed the decision.[1]

Ruling of the court

The trial court delivered a split decision. It ruled that the records of the Organization Court were subject to the Georgia Open Records Act but that the Court was not subject to the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in part and reversed in part. The appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court, determining that the records in question, as conceded by the trial court, were public records. The court also found that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act did not apply as that act was designed to prevent schools from maintaining an open policy and not to prevent the application of state records laws. However, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts decision with regard to the open meetings act. Citing the two pronged test established by Atlanta Journal v. Hill, the court determined that it is in fact a governing body in that it represents the Board of Regents in the trials and that it meets to make decisions and take official action. The court announced its ruling, stating, "We are mindful that openness in sensitive proceedings is sometimes unpleasant, difficult, and occasionally harmful. Nevertheless, the policy of this state is that the public's business must be open, not only to protect against potential abuses, but also to maintain the public's confidence in its officials."[2] Thus, the court determined that the Organization Court is subject to the open meetings act.[1]

Associated cases

See also

External links

References